New Appeal Requested In Sheen Remains Case

The Archdiocese of New York is still not willing to give up the remains of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

According to the Diocese of Peoria, the Archdiocese of New York has filed a second motion with the New York Court of Appeals asking permission to appeal a lower court judgment that Sheen’s remains should be moved to Peoria.

The Court of Appeals, New York’s top court, rejected the Archdiocese’s first motion to appeal May 2.

“It is with great regret that this time consuming and costly litigation continues, which also delays the celebration of Venerable Fulton Sheen’s beatification,” said the Diocese of Peoria in a news release.

Sheen’s remains are currently in a crypt in the Cathedral of St. Patrick in New York. Joan Sheen Cunningham, Sheen’s oldest living niece, has been seeking permission to move the remains to a crypt near the altar in St. Mary’s Cathedral. This year is the 100th anniversary of Sheen’s ordination into the priesthood.

Sheen was born in 1895 and was ordained a priest in Peoria Sept. 20, 1919.

Sheen gained national recognition as a radio and TV evangelist for nearly four decades starting in 1930. Sheen won two Emmys as host of his “Life is Worth Living” program.

Sheen died in 1979 at the age of 84.

Sheen was declared “Venerable” by the Vatican in 2012, recognizing Sheen’s life had “heroic virtue”.

A seven-member theological commission in Rome in June 2014 unanimously agreed a miracle should be attributed to the intercession of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

The miracle involves a stillborn baby born to Bonnie and Travis Engstrom in their Goodfield home in 2010. The baby showed no signs of life for 61 minutes while doctors at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center worked to revive him. The parents prayed for Sheen’s intercession into their child’s health and the baby’s heart started beating. The child, named James Fulton Engstrom, turned eight in September.

A team of Vatican medical experts in 2014 affirmed they could find no natural explanation for the child’s healing.

The case for Sheen’s sainthood was then expected to go to a team of cardinals and bishops in Rome and then to Pope Francis, who could declare Sheen as “Blessed.” That came to a halt when the cause was suspended.

Even after beatification, before Sheen can be declared a saint, a second miracle will need to be proven. Jenky, in a 2014 interview with 1470 & 100.3 WMBD said the Diocese will not be able to use any other miracles it has considered up to now.

“We can’t save some in the back,” Jenky said. “So the next one has to come in at least after it’s announced (Sheen’s) beatified.”

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